Sterling fall a reminder EU referendum is 'no parlour game' - Osborne

Friday 26 February 2016 18.26
Leaving the EU would represent a profound economic shock for the UK, its finance minister warns
Leaving the EU would represent a profound economic shock for the UK, its finance minister warns

Sterling's decline this week is a reminder that the outcome of Britain's referendum on its membership of the European Union will have real economic consequences, finance minister George Osborne said today. 

"You've seen the value of the pound fall and it reminds us all that this is not some political parlour game," Mr Osborne told BBC News. 

"This is about people's jobs and their livelihoods and their living standards and in my judgement, as chancellor, leaving the EU would represent a profound economic shock for our country," he stated. 

Mr Osborne is attending a meeting of finance ministers from Group of 20 nations in Shanghai in China. 

Meanwhile, the French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said he deeply believes it is best for the UK to stay in the European Union.

He said the British people would make the "right decision" in the upcoming referendum to remain a member.

"I believe in the intelligence of the people and I believe the British people will make the right decision, despite the crisis, despite the opportunistic measures that might be taken," Sapin said in Hong Kong ahead of a G20 meeting of central bankers and finance ministers in Shanghai.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said he hopes a deal can be struck to keep Britain in the European Union and to ensure the unity of Europe's single market, in particular for financial services as well as freedom of movement within the bloc. 

Separately, Sapin said he would be pushing for China to become a full member of the Paris Club of creditor nations at a time of global economic uncertainty and shaky markets.

"Obviously when I say that the Paris Club is to go through an enlargement I am thinking about China," he said.

He acknowledged, however, that while the club's rules including high levels of transparency and information disclosure, could be seen "as an issue for China" they wouldn't be watered down to allow Beijing's entry.

"The membership of the Paris Club requires that memebers respect a certain number of rules. I don't see why we need to slacken these rules, we just have to share these rules."

The Paris Club is an informal group of creditor governments including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the US.